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Glass Skin vs. Cloud Skin: Here’s What We Know

Woman with glowing skin touching her face

There’s no denying it, skin care has reigned supreme over the past year. At-home masks, fancy gadgets and cool tools have dominated our feeds and we’re filling our virtual carts with more moisturizers and cleansers than ever before.

When it comes to skin care, many trends have come and gone but the baseline remains the same; we all want to look dewy, fresh and clean. Enter two new trends: glass skin and cloud skin. Both have roots in K-Beauty, and both strive to achieve a fresh look but there are subtle differences that set the two apart. Check out the breakdown below and see which one will help you best get your glow on!

Related: How to get glowing skin naturally in 2021.

What it is: Glass skin

The glass skin care regime has a big focus on skin that is shiny, smooth and poreless as it tries to mimic the look and sheen of actual glass. This technique focuses a lot on hydration and using products to quench thirsty skin. The glass skin process is slightly more elaborate than your average routine, but the results are worth it. glass skin focuses on layering the right products in a beneficial sequence to get the most out of everything you are applying. It’s based on the idea that as a result of pollutants, sun damage and using harsh products, our moisture barrier can become damaged, and the glass skin trend looks to reverse that. So, do your skin a favour and offer it a drink!

To achieve this radiant look, there’s a few steps to follow religiously, focusing on cleansing and hydration. Below are the steps to follow if glass skin is your thing!

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Versed Day Dissolve Cleansing Balm $18
Shopper’s Drug Mart
Versed Day Dissolve Cleansing Balm $18

Step 1: Double-cleanse is twice as nice

To begin, double cleanse the skin. Double cleansing means exactly what it sounds like: clean the skin twice. Start with a cleansing oil or balm as these gently clean the skin without stripping away too much moisture. Then cleanse again with a gentle foaming wash to remove any impurities or make up.

Related: Beauty products that will prepare you for your 30s.


Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
Paula’s Choice
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant $30

Step 2: Exfoli-great!

After you cleanse, follow with a gentle exfoliator. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells which can make the skin look dull. It is important not to exfoliate more than once or twice a week, as anything more can irritate the skin.

Related: Here’s how to exfoliate your face to fight dry, itchy skin.


Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow PHA +BHA Pore-Tight Toner
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow PHA +BHA Pore-Tight Toner $45

Step 3: Tone it up!

Follow the exfoliation with toner. Using a toner tightens the skin and helps to achieve that poreless skin look that is crucial to the gass skin method.

Related: Sephora gets ready to launch new K-Beauty brand for gen-z


Lancôme Clarifique Exfoliating & Hydrating Face Essence with Glycolic Acid
Lancôme Clarifique Exfoliating & Hydrating Face Essence with Glycolic Acid $115

Step 4: Add some essence to the mix

Following the toner, use an essence. Essence provides the base layer that prepares the skin to absorb other products better. It also gets our bonus points for leaving the skin feeling fresh and hydrated.

Related: The best products for your face – according to a face yoga expert.


The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil
The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil $10

Step 5: Oil is the trick

Serums and face oils are next. Look for options with hyaluronic acid which is known for its hydrating properties. If face oils are more your thing, look into ones that are made with plant-based ingredients as they are more natural and are super light. The last thing you want to do is clog those pores back up!

Related: This new clean beauty line is bringing benefits of the Colombian orchid.



CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion
Shopper’s Drug Mart
CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion $18

Step 6: Moisturize

Moisturizer is the next step in this routine. Pick a moisturizer that is lightweight in formulation and that will help you seal in all the benefits from the prior steps.

Related: How to set your skin care goals for 2021: 3 factors to consider. 


COOLA Full Spectrum 360 Sun Silk Drops
COOLA Full Spectrum 360 Sun Silk Drops $62

Step 7: Sunblock

Last but most importantly: Block those rays. There is absolutely no point of going through all these steps if you aren’t going to protect that baby-smooth skin from harsh sunlight and UV rays. Opt for SPF 30 or higher . As an added bonus, many companies are coming out with super light, non-greasy formulas.

Related: 10 skincare mistakes that could be aging you.


Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Sheet Mask
TatchaLuminous Dewy Skin Sheet Mask $16

Step 8: Mask up

A key step to the glass skinr regime is also masking. Choose a clarifying or hydrating mask once a week to make sure all your efforts are preserved. Clay masks are great for clearing out any dull or dead skin and some sheet masks are really good for that extra drench of moisture.

Related: Top new beauty products arriving in Canada this April.

Pro tip:

This routine can be done day and night, but for the AM skip the double cleanse and just wash your face with a mild cleanser. This method might seem labour-intensive at first, but once you build it into your routine, it’ll feel less like work and more like a mini visit to the spa.

A young woman posing against a gray background
Getty Images

What it is: Cloud skin

Maybe it’s just the intense wanderlust that is setting in for all of us, but the cloud skin trend really feels fitting these days. In a world dominated by Zoom calls and harsh lighting, cloud skin focuses on making skin look dewy and clean but leans on products to blur imperfections as well (think of it as a perma beauty filter for real-life). This technique combines various things to make you look like you’re glowing from the inside. Cloud skin is here to make us look less haggard and more heavenly by combining skin care and cosmetic products to create an almost ethereal glow.

Related: This JLo beauty Canada glow boosting kit is what I need this spring.



The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid $12

Step 1: It’s all about that base

As with any technique, skin prep is key. With cloud skin, the base is arguably the most important part as this will set up for that “lit from within” glow. Start with a serum with hyaluronic acid or a face oil to create a dewy base.

Related: How to set your skin care goals for 2021:4 ways to refresh your routine.


NARS Sheer Glow Foundation
NARS Sheer Glow Foundation $61

Step 2: The right foundation

From skin prep, we move straight to make up products. When shopping for these, think lightweight with a hint of shimmer or illumination. The trick here is to avoid anything too heavy or thick. A tinted moisturizer or a very lightweight luminous foundation will work. If you don’t want to fully invest in new face makeup, check out illuminating drops that you can add to any face makeup achieve the same effect.

Related: The 6 beauty products you need to recreate a modern 90’s vibe.


Kosas Cloud Set Baked Setting and Smoothing Talc-Free Vegan Powder
Kosas Cloud Set Baked Setting and Smoothing Talc-Free Vegan Powder $45

Step 3: Power in powder

The next step is to powder the cheeks, forehead, nose and chin. The powdering step really helps to blend all the textures together, even out the skin and create a blurred, cloud like look.

Related: Spring/Summer 2021 beauty trend alert: smoldering eyes.


Quo Beauty Glow Getter Illuminating Drops
Shopper’s Drug Mart
QUO Beauty Glow Getter Illuminating Drops $22

Step 4: Highlight what’s right

The last step is to highlight. Think about areas that the sun would gently kiss naturally.  Cheeks, lips, eyes and brow bones are good places to focus on. Lastly, this look is all about creating harmony with different textures to build one lustrous look. Go on with your baddie self, Glow Goddess!

Related: Here’s how to create my favourite ‘80’s makeup looks.


Pro tip:

As with any type of skin care regime, you will achieve the best results if you take a holistic approach. While things like genetics and the outside environment do have impact on our skin, it’s important to note that good skin comes from within as well. Eating a balanced diet, hydrating with H20, avoiding stressors and good sleep are all pillars of skin care. Particular to the trends we see from the K-Beauty scene, there is a large emphasis on doing things in your daily life to ignite the glow from within. And as always, check ingredients and do patch tests before starting anything new.

Related: 20 foods to eat to combat dry skin.

All products featured on are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy through links in this article, we earn an affiliate commission.

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